family, Teddie Aspen

Dog Lessons

It wasn’t long ago I was digging through boxes leftover from my childhood home. I ran across an American Kennel Club certificate. Maximillian was his name.

I had heard his name many times in my life, often with a sneer from one of my brothers. They loved their dog, and I was the reason we got rid of him. Maximillian, the prized pooch, couldn’t stop knocking me over as a newly walking toddler. So, he had to go.

All this to say, I didn’t grow up with dogs. I had a cat named Snoopy I treasured but was allergic to (a story for another post), but never a dog. I just didn’t get dogs. Never wanted one. And who knows, maybe I was even a little scared of them from all my hard knocks as a babe.

As an adult, when my family wanted to get a dog, I resisted. We even had a dog live with us for a while that didn’t really work out. We ended up taking him to a new home where he could have the room and attention he needed.

Then Penny came along. My sister-in-law became her unexpectedly permanent foster mom. She needed a place to live and a family to love her. Would we be interested? I didn’t really want this at all. We could take her for a 2-week trial to see if we could handle it.

And she never left. We live together but I wouldn’t say she loves me. Still, my heart softened seeing how much everyone else loved her. She changed our family.

And then came the dog that I really did love. Chester. The unlikely, homely, wiry guy from the pound. The underdog. I didn’t even know why we would ever need 2 dogs. I was just getting used to 1! Then Chester who got scared by sudden movements and noises, Chester who always backed out of the room…Chester came along. He was very shy at first but eventually came around and became sweet, playful Chester. He loves to run and bound through the woods, and his sad eyes will pull at your heart strings every time. Chester changed my heart about dogs.

Now there’s the newest member of the clan named Nash, who I’ve taken a liking to. I even embrace my extended family and friend’s dogs. Heck, I even get to walk dogs and dog sit once in a while. Truthfully, I still don’t know how to act around dogs, and they can tell. It doesn’t come naturally for me and maybe never will. Thankfully, I’ve learned that many dogs are pretty forgiving if you at least try. They teach me about protection, loyalty, priorities and unconditional love. They seem to bring out the best in people just by being there and present in the moment. That bowls me over in the best of ways.

mental health, perspective

The Web

Can you see the web hidden in the dew and the sunlight? If you can’t it’s okay. I will tell you about it.

The web is masterfully crafted. Many layers. Anchored skillfully. It was a beautiful web. There were spiders to the eye. There were no prey woven in. It was a midnight masterpiece I’m sure. One that a skillful spider crafted while I slept. 

When I awoke it caught my eye in sun. It was hard to get a picture but the dew and the sun made it stunning to admire. Not many can say they found a web stunning but on this day I did.

It’s craftsmanship had me interested. Much like life we live with many tangled layers similar to a web. Carefully crafted relationships. Overlapping work and pleasure lines. Family connections. Friend circles. All interwoven to fit what we call life.

I was drawn to this web today. A simple part of nature. Many won’t see. Many will take for granted or even wipe it a way in an instant. But the beauty of it all is a spider will get back up and craft a different web. Maybe one that can withstand more than just a simple wipe away.

This was a firmly build web. Anchored. Robust. How does your life web compare? Is it flimsy? Can it be wiped away easily? Are you memorable like this web was for me? Can you say your feet are planted firmly in life?

Life is so full of many ups and downs. Sometimes you have to pick yourself off the ground and start fresh to build a better life web. The beauty is we are all capable of doing this. 

Get after your day today. Look at your web. If it’s tangled, worn or flimsy look at options to refresh your web of life. If it’s robust and built sturdy look around and see if you can share your gift of life stability with others. Somebody nearby may need help with their web.

Enjoy your day.

perspective

How Close is Too Close?

I went to dinner the other night at a local restaurant. We were seated at the center table. No masks required as we were dining. Seems simple. Just the new normal we are used to.

Then my daughter said “we aren’t distanced like we should be.” I looked around. What did she see that I didn’t? I mean I’m telecommuting most days while she is in physical school distanced and masked 8 hours a day following rules, new rules and more rules each day. Her perspective is clearly different than mine based on our exposures to date. Weird that the child is teaching the parent.

She said “this table isn’t 6 feet. Those booths are not spaced. It’s not distanced like it should be.” Wow. I paused and thought to myself how much she has changed due to the pandemic. Will we ever get back to normal? Will I actually be able to hear a waitress ask me about my order where I can understand her without a full mask?

My elderly mom was dining with me. The menu was a scanned barcode. That’s pretty high tech for her but it’s the only option. She can’t see the screen as well as me to order. Sigh. Sigh deeper. This is what is normal. Will there be a return of paper menus?

The next day my daughter calls for an early dismissal from school. A neighboring student is potentially a covid exposure. “I can’t sit in class for more than 15 mins or I’ll get close contact,” she said. What? “If I get close contact then I’ll have to miss social activities.” What?

So today I learned about close contact. Secondary contact. Confirmed cases. Contact cases. Exceptions. Rules. Suspected cases. And. And. And. I’m exhausted just digesting this information. Technically I knew these scenarios but not up close. To the point of sidelining one of my family members.

It’s football season. Homecoming. All the things high schoolers look forward to. So many instances of socializing being scrutinized, cancelled, postponed and so on. I’m going nuts keeping up with changes on the calendar and it’s driving me bat shit crazy that it’s emotionally hitting my kid.

Spring was tough enough with isolation for a teen. Now a new level of toughness is needed to combat the stress and anxiety that’s goes along with adapting to so much change in your formative years. The years of milestones. First kisses. Dates. Driving. Team sports. School events. College visits.

I am hopeful that the new year brings peace to not only my child but all kids enduring so much stress as a rippling effect of the pandemic. Developing brains can only handle so much and parents are also battling their own demons in the workplace, on the home front and just in society in general.

Just my random recap post. The blah of the week and it just started with just 6 feet. How much difference 6 feet can actually make. And how my differences could be so different than another’s. #perspective

celebrations

Showing Up for Me

My friends and CrossFit community mean a lot to me.  My coaches are an important part of my progress. There are so many people who are important on my health journey. 

But in the end, when I go to workout, I show up for me. All the different versions. 

I show up for the grouchy one.  The tired one. The clumsy one. The one who doesn’t think she can do it.  I show up for the feisty one, the nervous one, the one who is just going through the motions.

I show up for the one who loves burpees and power cleans.  I show up for the one who forces herself to do thrusters and running.  I show up for the one who mumbles and grumbles and at times dawdles and always has to run to the restroom just before the countdown to zero.

I show up for the one who sometimes forgets how far she has come.  I show up for the one who thinks she will lose her momentum if she misses a single day. Who forgets that an off day won’t set her back 5 years.  

I show up to meet her.  Who will she be today? I show up to see what’s new and how she has changed.  Some days she surprises me. I show up to encourage her, to lift her through it.  

Keeping the promises I make to myself is as important as any other commitment I make in my life. A recent podcast featuring Ed Mylett reminded me how important it is to move, to detach from outcomes and focus on the process, and to follow through on the promises I make to myself. 

There are a few precious people I would put myself on the back burner for.  This is a huge change from how I used to be. I used to be willing to back burner myself at a moment’s notice for anyone who even asked. People I hardly knew. Heck, some of them didn’t even ask – I volunteered!  It was almost a point of pride to be that way. 

But the extreme selflessness I prized in myself cheated me of my strength, my energy, and my growth.  I am learning that I am better if I rank myself high on my priority list. And that means showing up for myself.  Even when it is hard.  Even when I am going it alone.  Even when no one high fives me.  The people who I would set it all aside for notice.  And they celebrate how I am changing. For the better. 

I can’t drink from an empty cup.  When I am there for myself, my cup runneth over, and I have more of me to go around. 

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perspective

Floating

Today I am floating. Drifting off in my mind. Thinking. Wondering. Being overly curious. Where did my mind go?

Many places were visited whiled I drifted but somehow I circled back to what was missing. Things or situations I’m missing because of the pandemic.

I miss the care free days of no masks. I miss the smiles you share with a passer by when walking at the park. I miss the handshakes with a colleague at the business meeting. I miss hugs. Human contact in general. Just so many things or situations I miss.

Then I think about a different kind of loss. How many people that have been lost for whatever reason during the pandemic. So many I know that had been put to rest without a proper farewell. Is it a coincidence that the death toll is high even if not pandemic related causes of death? Maybe those just gave up because they missed things like me. We will never know but I do drift to the place where I think about it.

So many things or situations seem unfair right now in life. Many changes that seemed temporary or are they permanent? All these changes have consequences. Now businesses are starting to crumble. Even if you have money to spend sometimes it’s hard to spend it with limited working hours, restrictions and lack of availability.

I needed to buy a couch. No stock. Not even the floor model was available. The store was down to bare minimums because the supply chain has been interrupted. I had money to spend. The salesman wanted his commission. No deal could be made. That is hard on any business.

You want to get your nails done. A local shop used to be open 7 days. Now it’s 3 days and appointments required. No fun break at the movies. No adventure day window shopping at the mall. I can’t, I won’t, I shouldn’t, and so on. All scenarios that I don’t like to comprehend.

I’ve filled my time with other things but I do still miss what I had access to pre-corona. As I drift, I think will hope be restored in our world? Will there be a new normal or something that closely resembles the old day-to-day.

I miss laughter. I miss touch. I miss many things and situations. I have these feelings and I know many others have similar or different feelings about the subject. I’m writing about it. Others may vent in other ways. Some may give up.

Be aware of friends, family and coworkers who may be struggling. It may be anxiety, financial stress, emotional burdens from previous scars of life and so on. Keep your antenna up and offer hope when you can.

May tomorrow the best day you can imagine. Drift, dream, float in your mind to escape the troubles of the day in some way. It’s a way to cope with change. Keeping in mind I love change personally but I don’t love my world to change without my input. I don’t want the unsteady ground. I want the sturdy ground.

Maybe my altered reality in my mind is where I find peace while we are living a pandemic life in the current. Drift away your way. I know I do.